Creating Value Not Content. Pants & Socks For Your Audience?
In the run up to Christmas, it would be wrong of me not to give a seasonal themed post.
The whole link between Christmas and an owned media approach this year ties in with Christmas presents.
Lets look at the importance of creating value, not in content, but for an audience. When you buy a gift for a loved one, is it what they want or what you think they would like?
If you have been listening and paying attention over the past few months or so, you’ll probably have an idea what they would like next week.
Alternatively you could think that the buy three, get the cheapest free from Boots is the ideal present until you are asked for the receipt to take it back (the cheap one).
Coming to a business angle, have you been listening to your audience this year?
Much like a B2B Santa Claus and inviting your audience to sit on your knee (a bit creepy, but lets go with it), intimacy becomes a test for how well you know people.
If the equivalent of giving to your audience represents pants and socks, then you don’t know them well at all. Whereas when connection represents something that they are looking for, then you’ve hit hearts, not just attention spans.
The role you play as a business is to understand your audience throughout the year and not just a half arsed after thought at Christmas where customers receive a bottle of wine. Worse still, what is remaining from the annual marketing budget is then invested in the Christmas ‘funny’ video because that is what your audience wants….right? Companies couldn’t be more wrong!
It is not your role to relentlessly preach to others what they should be doing (why not have a read of my preacher or professor article on opinion or fact). The return is when you listen to others and are then able to deliver, on a continuous basis.
According to a survey from Harris Interactive, 55% of respondents say easy access to information and support can attract them to a brand.
So, in order to be the gift that keeps giving, it’s time to connect and listen. What can you do? Here are some suggestions to think about that has worked for me this year:
An Enewsletter Is Easy Peasy, Getting Others To Read Is The Hard Part
If you can find the hook for what it is you represent within your industry and have the ability to come back on a continuous basis, that is the biggest challenge.
I send my ‘You Are The Media’ email every Thursday morning without fail and this week is number 100. That’s nearly two years of being in people’s in-boxes every single Thursday.
This has resulted in sales for my business. When people are ready, they approach. I don’t put this wholly down to creating content targeted for an audience of small business owners who believe in owning spaces that are theirs. I put it down to the habit that I built and an audience knowing that I will be present every week.
Proof of creating value first, content second.
Become The Community Space
Last month I introduced a community space that was away from a LinkedIn Group and intended for everyone who takes time out of their day to come to one of my events in one shape or form.
I have created this via Slack and it feels like a little den at the bottom of the woods that only a few people know about.
Whereas on LinkedIn anyone can request to join a group, this feels a lot more intimate. I wanted people to feel privileged to feel part of something they were invited to and not a readily available social channel.
Different channels have been set up within Slack and people are interacting with each other. It is early days, but this is the real sense of community. It doesn’t matter if I am not here to administer in a year or so, I’d like to think that it becomes something where ownership is with others.
In terms of connecting and listening this could become a forum to share topics for next years Marketing Homebrew podcast.
I look forward to sharing how the Slack experience progresses.
What Are People Looking At?
Similar to using the Slack group to gauge conversation and topic areas, measurement for what resonates with others always drives me back to good old-fashioned Google Analytics.
I used to create content for what I thought people would want to read that has been flipped around to creating content for what people want to read. Based on my own curation, the most popular articles are those related to 1) my own failure 2) sharing what has worked and 3) learning about the content marketing discipline from others (have a look at the Talking Content Marketing section).
It is not about opinion, I used to think that this is what drove people to my site (see….what I thought is one thing, what people want is another).
My whole approach has changed during 2015 based on fact, experience, and opinion. This is what makes us relevant. To read more on how this model works and to apply your side next year, come and have a read.
Be Committed To Always Show Up
People want to know that the time they invest in consuming your content is going to be worthwhile.
There is no point going hell for leather in January with content focused on the free website audit and then see a blank space when the momentum runs out at the beginning of February.
The ability to connect is for others to know that you are consistent and believe in what you create. Your website is the equivalent of the local independent shop at the bottom of the road. People come over because they know the people associated with the website. It is one thing to treat everyone as a £ sign and your whole web content is focused on what you can do. It is another to treat your audience as people who are appreciated for coming over and may perhaps feature in what you have to share and have a role to play, whether they are a customer or not.
Connection Takes Patience
It’s like the early days of a new girlfriend/boyfriend at Christmas. Should you go for the ‘gesture’ gift of a bottle of perfume/aftershave or think that the shopping spree in Selfridges is a bit over the top at such an early stage?
It takes patience to develop a relationship that matters. You cannot rush the whole process by coming back in January with the brilliant idea for the sales promotion push to an unsuspecting audience (see point one regarding the enewsletter). It all comes down to cultivating and relating to an audience. When your audience can see that you are committed, when the moment is right you have achieved your zero moment of truth.
We have all been faced with lies and unsuspecting messages from brands, to build a relationship that has longevity is based on an understanding and mutual appreciation.
When you know what others want, the relationship becomes reciprocal. Whether in business or in your everyday life, when it comes to giving, it all comes down to understanding what someone else wants. When you able to give something for the other to appreciate, it becomes a powerful place to be. Give first, then receive, it works.